Greetings everyone! This past Saturday, I attended Belvidere’s 26th Annual Victorian Days. Don’t let the name fool you: it mainly showcases Victorian homes and dress, but also showcases homes up until I’d say the 1940s (I may be incorrect) and cars up until the 1960s.
I purchased tickets for my friend and I to attend the house tours and the cemetery tour. Thankfully, the committee offers a booklet on specific homes (ones on you may tour and ones you can take leisurely walking tour) explaining the historical significance of each home listed. For instance, there are quite a few homes that were purchased from none other than a Sears Roebuck catalogue! I had absolutely no idea Sears sold pre-fabricated, ready to build homes. I did a little research and found these homes were available from 1908 to 1940, and approximately 70,000 of these were bought and built. The gist of it seems like it was much easier to put together than a piece of furniture from Ikea. Not sure if any Allen wrenches were needed.
Getting back to the tour…my only complaint was the map in the booklet. It was very hard to determine where you were, so unfortunately, we were unable to get to every home to tour within the timeframe given, because we had to be on time for the cemetery tour. While walking the streets, you can tell many people take pride in their homes. Homeowners either had their homes in pristine condition, or were working towards renovating back to the original glory. It gave me a feeling of true community spirit. When my friend and I were unsure of where we were, it was as if the locals were reading our minds and gave us directions. I have never gone to a place where people were so friendly either! Some of my favorite Victorians (by the way, I have not mentioned, I ABSOLUTELY love Victorians, the era, etc.) are referred to as “painted ladies.” This term I found in several ghost story books I’ve read. These painted ladies are exactly what it sounds like: not just black and white, but rich eggplants, happy mint greens, dollhouse pinks, morning glory blues. The shutters are usually painted a different color to truly make the home stand out. Why wouldn’t you want to paint your home such a bright color when it is absolutely gorgeous!?
The cemetery tour was very informative and given by a man in Victorian garb. It was funny when he was on his not-so-Victoria iPhone (it wasn’t even Steampunk, sorry to disappoint). We were not given details on the people buried in there, but rather headstone information. Once again, quite a few could be purchased from good old Sears or Montgomery Ward. The tour guide explained what some symbols mean on headstones (ex. weeping willows mean sorrow, drapes/urns mean death, etc.) and which headstones were built to last (Vermont makes the best according to the gentleman). The headstones found on the ground were not put there purposely, but rather they had fallen over and no one had taken care of it, so the earth decided to grow grass around it. He did show a few specific gravesites and explain the person’s significance though. Some great last names (keep your giggling to a minimum, we are all adults): Beers, Fangboner, Titman.
Since the booklet gave specific addresses to come back another time for a leisure walking tour, I definitely would love to go back once Autumn is in full bloom. And maybe even Christmastime. You should definitely check this town out, especially next year when they have the 27th Annual Victorian Days. See you there!!
Disclaimer: I am not posting entire pictures or street names of houses out of respect for the homeowners. I don’t think they’d appreciate knowing their house and all info is on the internet without their permission.